In a show of force, 15 fellow Senators co-sponsor the innovative health care bill
Senator Sanders also recently endorsed the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act (State Issue 2), a November 2017 ballot issue to compel state agencies in Ohio to pay no more for their drugs than what the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays for the same medications. The VA receives a discount—from 20-24 percent off the price the drug companies normally charge other customers for these same drugs.
WASHINGTON (September 13, 2017) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today praised the introduction of legislation that would make all Americans and U.S. residents eligible for Medicare.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced the bill today as the prime sponsor along with—and in a show of force—15 co-sponsors including: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). #MedicareForAll
“AHF salutes Senator Sanders for his steadfast leadership in making sure the patients we care for are guaranteed the quality health care they deserve. Unless we address the underlying forces that make our health care system so expensive, such as the enormous administrative overhead of the health insurance industry and obscene drug prices, we will never make progress towards the guarantee of health care as a right,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF.
“The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other industrialized country in the world. That’s because the U.S. government allows over 30 percent of health care costs today to go to pay the insurance industry’s administrative overhead,” said AHF General Counsel and Chief of Public Affairs Tom Myers.
AHF has been on record in support of expanding Medicare to cover all U.S. citizens and residents for some time. See AHF’s previous statement here: https://www.aidshealth.org/#/archives/29419
“As the largest provider of primary HIV care in the world, AHF has first-hand experience in providing high quality medical and pharmacy services regardless of the ability to pay. Operating in 40 countries, we know that the U.S. has the most complicated and expensive health care system in the world,” said AHF Chief of Medicine Dr. Michael Wohlfeiler. “Treatment equals life. Senator Sanders’s Medicare For All legislation will make sure that people living with HIV will have access to treatment and not have to pay for exorbitant prices for life-saving anti-retroviral medication.”
The U.S. Medicare program, which has a 50-year record of success, is now only available to everyone over 65. This legislation would make tax-funded healthcare available that is medically necessary including primary care and prevention, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services and vision care. Like Medicare, patients would choose from participating physicians and institutions.
U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-Michigan) introduced a similar measure, H.R. 676, called “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives in January.
The program would be funded by taxes replacing insurance premiums. Funds from existing government sources for health care, increasing personal income taxes on the top five percent of income earners, a progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment income, a tax on unearned income, and a transaction tax on stock and bond purchases would be enacted by the legislation. These taxes would be offset by the elimination of premium payments to health insurance companies. Health insurers would be prohibited from selling health insurance that duplicates benefits provided in the legislation. They may sell insurance for services that are not medically necessary.
“This legislation will help all our patients and it will eliminate barriers to ending the AIDS epidemic. Everyday support is building in the U.S. for expanding Medicare. AHF looks forward to the enactment of this bill into law,” said Myers.
Following is a link to Senator Sanders’ own statement on Medicare For All: